Dorrigo remembers Vietnam on August 18

The Covid-19 pandemic and loss of the town's war memorial did not prevent Dorrigo residents honouring Australian men and women who served in the Vietnam War.

The annual observance on August 18 focuses on the Battle of Long Tan but embraces all ex-service personnel who took part in the conflict.

Pandemic restrictions limited the number of people able to attend the simple service. Most were local Vietnam veterans, their families and friends.

This year, for the first time, the commemoration was held in the grounds of Dorrigo RSL Club. The change of venue was necessary following the destruction of the Dorrigo Monument earlier this year.

Repair and replacement of the monument coincides with the construction of a long awaited roundabout in the centre of the town.

Work on the roundabout and the replacement of the monument will be completed in time for Anzac Day celebrations next year.

Dorrigo Monument at last year's Anzac Day Service

Dorrigo Monument at last year's Anzac Day Service

Executive members of the Dorrigo Branch of the RSL, Jim McLeod and Bob Denner, stressed the extent of the contribution of men and women who served.

"Today, we think not only of the Battle at Long Tan on 18 August 1966, but the 59,000 Australians who served in Vietnam, particularly the 521 who lost their lives and the 3000 who were wounded and many who are still wounded," Bob Denner said.

"We face up to the difficult fact that it was to our country's shame that we did not appropriately recognise and respect those who served in Vietnam for their brave, selfless service to our country, until almost 20 years later.

"In fact we did worse than that, as the Australian War Memorial records, many soldiers were met with a hostile reception on their return home.

"Now 54 years on, we mark an important milestone and we honour every Australian who served in Vietnam."

Mr Denner paid tribute to the huge number of Vietnamese civilians who lost their lives during the conflict.

"Though the actual figure is not known, it is safely estimated that hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese also died - and equally, we also remember and honour them as well," Mr Denner said.

"Today we should remember the motto of the Vietnam Veterans Association - 'Honour the dead but fight like hell for the living'."